Muslim conscientious objector facing forced deployment to Afghanistan

US Army Private First Class Nasser Abdo, 20, is seeking a discharge on the ground that his religious belief as a Muslim forbids him from fighting in any war as a member of the US military. He applied for conscientious objector status on June 7, and if granted would be discharged from the military under the provisions of AR 600-43. Despite PFC Abdo’s efforts to seek CO status, his unit has decided to deploy him from Fort Campbell, KY, to Afghanistan—possibly as soon as late August or early September.

If deployed, PFC Abdo fears he will be at danger of harassment and even death from his fellow soldiers, many of whom will be resentful of PFC Abdo’s religious beliefs and his desire to be discharged from the military. PFC Abdo will continue to do all he can to persuade his unit to cancel his deployment, but if he is unsuccessful in this, he likely will refuse to deploy. (Free Nasser Abdo website, Aug. 18)

See our last post on conscientious objection and war resistance.

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  1. Why did he join?
    The fact that this man is a PFC tells me that he recently joined the army. Didn’t he know that by joining the army he would most likely be going to Iraq or Afghanistan? This is silly, if you really are a conscientious objector you don’t join the military while the war you object to is ongoing!

    1. Why don’t you read his statement?
      Go to his website. It states:

      On April 8, 2009, PFC Abdo enlisted in the military. When he joined, he did so with the best of intentions. He believed in good faith that a Muslim could be part of the military and still be a faithful Muslim.

      Yet, it was during OSUT (one station unit training) at Fort Benning, Georgia that he began to see how difficult it was to be a Muslim in the military. He found himself compromising on issues of importance.

      His objection seems to be based on not being able to complete his five daily prayers rather than pacifism per se, so I don’t know if his CO claim will be granted. But the military code does allow those already on active duty to file a claim.